Couple of my favorite bloggers did a bit recently on radio stations that play the same songs over&over:
My buddy Rastro over at LA HISTORIA speculated that hearing the same songs repeatedly might work as "comfort food" 4 listeners in their 30s, 40s & 50s (and Ghod knows even older) who might already have 2 much on their minds. I think he could B right.
The mindset of my buddy Crabby at CRABBY'S TOP TEN SITE is closer 2 mine & might best B Dscribed as: WHY DO THEY PLAY THE SAME SHIT OVER AND OVER?!
Here's why this discussion has gotten me thinking recently:
I've started playing the radio more & more often at work lately after resisting it 4 YEARS. (I figured I could space-out just fine without any help, so why would I need the radio?) But lately I've found the radio does keep me bouncing around & DEFinitely improves my mood if it's a bad nite or the coffee just ain't workin no more.
& sometimes I turn it up REALLY LOUD.
I bounce around Btween 4 or 5 diffrent FM stations: Seattle's "Star 101.5," current hits + a few oldies dating back in2 the '90s; KZOK 102.5, Seattle's "Classic Rock" station; my fave Oldies station KMCQ; "Cafe" 104.1, which is SORT OF soft-rock; & "The Mountain" 103.5, which is mostly newer stuff + some things I can't identify.
U'd think with those 5 stations pretty close 2gether I wouldn't havta waste much time trying 2 find something good, something motivational, something I hadn't heard lately.
And you'd B wrong.
In the hours I listen, Btween 9 pm & midnight, I spend more time twiddling the knob trying 2 find something ELSE than I do actually LISTENING.
KZOK, tho I love 'em, sounds like they coulda bn programmed in some1's sleep. You can predict their "Classic Rock" playlist. They very seldom play anything suprising.
KMCQ, now that I've gotten used 2 them, seldom get 2 shocking either -- tho they HAVE played Sugar Loaf's "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" & Gladys Knight & the Pips' version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" a coupla times each this week. But they R WAY more likely 2 fall back on "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," "The Night Chicago Died," & "What's New, Pussycat?" I haven't heard them repeat Small Faces' "Lazy Sunday." But they DID play Procol Harum's "Homburg" awhile back....
Cafe 104.1 has a weakness 4 Earth, Wind and Fire's "After the Love Has Gone" (great song, but NOT daily) -- but they also played Kelly Clarkson's "I'm Already Gone," which knocked me over awhile back.
"The Mountain" might play anything from unidentified acoustic folk 2 U2 or Train.
You'd think these stations with their at-least-slightly varied 4mats would give me a fairly wide spectrum of tunes 2 work 2. Maybe. But over the past coupla weeks, here's a few of the songs I've heard MULTIPLE times, without even trying....
Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Fool in the Rain, Rock and Roll, Immigrant Song, Livin' Lovin' Maid (She's Just a Woman).
Derek and the Dominoes: Layla.
Fleetwood Mac: Oh Well (full version). (Wonder if KZOK thinks they're Bing brave & daring by playing this heavy-metal-blues-into-guitar-fantasia piece? It IS a classic, & Peter Green was a real strange guy....)
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
David Bowie: Let's Dance, Young Americans. (But "Suffragette City" was nice....)
Deep Purple: Smoke on the Water. (Tho "Hush" & "Kentucky Woman" were both great 2 hear.)
Boston: More Than a Feeling.
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama.
Paul McCartney/Wings: Band on the Run, Maybe I'm Amazed.
Foreigner: Cold as Ice.
Tom Petty: Refugee (what else?).
Pink Floyd: Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Money.
Bob Dylan: Knocking on Heaven's Door, Positively 4th Street.
Eagles: Take it Easy, Hotel California.
Who: Won't Get Fooed Again, Love Reign O'er Me, The Real Me. (Also heard "The Kids are Alright" & "Call Me Lightning," nice suprises both.)
Rush: Limelight, The Spirit of Radio.
CeeLo: Forget You. (Is this right? It's 2 current 4 me to be sure....)
American Breed: Bend Me Shape Me.
...How'd that last 1 get in there? Anyway, don't get me wrong. It's not that these Rn't great songs ... some of them. It's just: How much is ANYONE going 2 get out of hearing "Smoke on the Water" ONE MORE TIME? Or "Hotel California"? Or "Cold as Ice"? Why's it so hard 2 try something new?
Course radio stations have bills 2 pay 2 -- & these days especially they probly can't afford 2 have 2 many listeners tune-out Bcos they played the "wrong" Elton John song (my pick: "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" -- uggghhh....)
So maybe what we need isn't new song choices so much as a new format.
The kinda format that would make Crabby & I happier isn't out there right now -- a format that would allow 4 oldies from the '50s 2 the best current stuff. Hits & album trax. Rock & Pop & R&B & Soul & Disco & Jazz & Country & Folk. Could probly throw in some Rap & HipHop 2. Loud & soft, heavy & lite, electric & acoustic.
& would such a format stretch listeners' ears & tastes Byond the breaking point?
& if so, WHY?
Why is it such a problem 2 B suprised, Dlighted with something that comes outta the radio?
How about NO format? Just let some1 who's a music fan pick what goes on the air. I heard they tried this 1nce a few years back at college radio stations -- & we Nded up with a "college rock" 4mat.... & wasn't that "underground" stuff back in the '60s all about on-air DJ's picking their own stuff...?
Look, I love "Stairway to Heaven," really. It still sounds great -- at least everything from Jimmy Page's gtr-fanfare that leads in2 the meltdown solo near the end. The passion still comes across. Same with "Layla." I'll never get tired of that gtr&keyboard closing section.
But NOT BOTH of them 2wice a nite. 3 nites in a row. On 2 diffrent stations.
Zeppelin's got LOTS of other great stuff. & I don't just mean "Kashmir." It would take a bigger Zep fan than me 2 pick out some great overlooked Zep trax (I'll bet Drew over at ODDS AND SODS could come up with a list REAL fast). But I haven't heard "The Rover" in awhile, or "When the Levee Breaks," or "Good Times Bad Times"....
MayB the problem isn't the song choices so much as developing a wider-open 4mat that a radio station wouldn't B scared 2 try. MayB a 4mat that highlights the artists' work-in-depth rather than the same old classic hits.
Imagine some friendly-voiced DJ saying: "Your favorite artists .... Their greatest songs .... Now on KTAD" -- for instance....
...It's either this or I start taking a stack of CDs with me 2 work & scare the shit out of EVERYBODY....
(Sat, 23 July 11, 1:40 am -- Overnite & at work 2nite I thot of a few more songs that've bn overplayed while I've bn listening over the past coupla wks. These were added B4 I read NE comments:
Peter Gabriel: In Your Eyes.
Queen: Somebody to Love.
Madonna: Borderline, Lucky Star, Into the Groove.
Beatles: Here Comes the Sun.
Train: Drops of Jupiter.
Police: Walking on the Moon.
Bruce: Born to Run.
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds: Don't Pull Your Love (!).
Sade: Smooth Operator.
Simon and Garfunkel: The Boxer.
...Again, it's not that some of these aren't great songs, it's just ... well, why's everything so OBVIOUS? What's wrong with Bing suprised 1nce in awhile...?)
COMING NEXT: An "alternate playlist" of great trax by classic rockers, based on stuff I've got around the house. But not the same old stuff....